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Old 10-18-2002, 10:55 AM   #1
digantk
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Angry Understanding terminology


I am having a hard time understanding the difference between the following:

X Server
Windows Managers
Graphic Environments
Themes.

Coming from a Windows background where everything is integrated into one, the idea of having seperate pieces is new to me. Where can I find out the difference between those things? What does each part handle? Etc.

-- Digant
 
Old 10-18-2002, 11:08 AM   #2
jetblackz
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X Server lets others connect to your box
WM is a must or else you see nothing. WM is lightwegith like fluxbox, twm..
GE should be desktop environ. They're big like Gnome and KDE.
Themes are the clothes the GE/WM is wearing.
 
Old 10-18-2002, 11:21 AM   #3
Thymox
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Welcome to LQ, Digantk.

Well, yeah, the X server can let others connect to your box, but it's more than that.

The principle GUI part of Linux, XFree86, is run as a server/client setup. Yeah, if you're running an X server on your machine and you have it set up to accept remote clients, then other computers can connect to your X server... but that's another story. For all intents and purposes, you can consider, on a standalone machine, that the X server is the most basic part of your GUI environment.

The Window Manager is what sits between your Desktop Environment and your X server. When you're running KDE your WM is kwin. When you're running Gnome, your default WM will be SawFish (yay!) but you can change it to be something else. It is what defines how you interact with the system... mouse focus, window behaviours, etc. Now, some people (myself included) do not run Desktop Environments (such as KDE and Gnome), we just run Windor Managers on their own.

The Desktop Environment, KDE or Gnome mainly, is really just a collection of programs that run together to 'make life easier'. I do not have to be running KDE in order to have the KDE taskbar running, however, the taskbar integrates itself with other programs to make the whole thing run 'smoother'. Now, there will be many, many arguments against this mode of operation, from myself included, because it loads lots of programs all at once and slows your machine down. Sometime only a little, sometimes too much.

Themes are changes that you can make to your GUI. In Windows you've always been able to change your wallpaper, and the colours of your windows. In XP you can have the new, 'jazzy' XP look (that horrible green/blue monstrosity) or the default Windows look. You could, I suppose, consider these to be themes. In most Linux environments this goes further. You can not only change the colours of stuff, but, lets say, have pictures for borders. You know the film Alien? There's a SawFish theme that lets you have Aliens on and around your windows.

Hope that clears things up a little. If you have any more questions about their differences and distinctions, then post back here!
 
Old 10-18-2002, 11:36 AM   #4
digantk
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thymox
[B]Welcome to LQ, Digantk.

The Window Manager is what sits between your Desktop Environment and your X server. When you're running KDE your WM is kwin. When you're running Gnome, your default WM will be SawFish (yay!) but you can change it to be something else. It is what defines how you interact with the system... mouse focus, window behaviours, etc. Now, some people (myself included) do not run Desktop Environments (such as KDE and Gnome), we just run Windor Managers on their own.
So, that's why when I run startx and I login, I have my regular menus and then it has a menu of stuff it calls KDE programs. Those are programs that come with KDE that the KDE people put together to make life easier and the other programs are programs that GNOME people put together.

The main thing I get from this is that program from KDE can run on GNOME and visa verce b/c it only requires a Windows Manager to run. I'm assuming that windows managers all have standards so a windowed program can run on any WM?

Quote:
Now, there will be many, many arguments against this mode of operation, from myself included, because it loads lots of programs all at once and slows your machine down. Sometime only a little, sometimes too much.
I like this idea of not running all the extras. What kind of extras does it run, though?

And how do I get machine to only run Sawfish and no Graphic Environment?

Quote:
Themes are changes that you can make to your GUI. In Windows you've always been able to change your wallpaper, and the colours of your windows. In XP you can have the new, 'jazzy' XP look (that horrible green/blue monstrosity) or the default Windows look. You could, I suppose, consider these to be themes. In most Linux environments this goes further. You can not only change the colours of stuff, but, lets say, have pictures for borders. You know the film Alien? There's a SawFish theme that lets you have Aliens on and around your windows.
Is there a connection between Graphic Environments and Themes? How can you have a theme for Sawfish without a GE? If you have a theme in Sawfish and then you decide to use GNOME GE, how will that effect your theme?

And where can I get that Aliens theme? I love that movie!
 
Old 10-18-2002, 11:46 AM   #5
llama_meme
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Quote:
What kind of extras does it run, though?
The obvious one is the KDE panel.

Quote:
And how do I get machine to only run Sawfish and no Graphic Environment?
Well there's several ways, depending on distro, personal preference, etc. (search the forums, it's quite a common question). Sawfish, however, isn't really designed as a stand alone window manager, so you might prefer to use something a bit more fully featured like blackbox.

Quote:
Is there a connection between Graphic Environments and Themes?
GE is a vague term...if you mean a desktop environment (like KDE and GNOME), then the answer is kind of. There's essentially two things that can be themed: GUI libraries (e.g. Qt and Gtk) and window managers. Window manager themes control what the borders of windows look like, etc. Themes for GUI libraries control what buttons, checkboxes etc. look like. GNOME is built on Gtk and KDE is built on Qt.

Alex

Last edited by llama_meme; 10-19-2002 at 05:48 AM.
 
Old 10-18-2002, 12:01 PM   #6
Thymox
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Quote:
So, that's why when I run startx and I login, I have my regular menus and then it has a menu of stuff it calls KDE programs. Those are programs that come with KDE that the KDE people put together to make life easier and the other programs are programs that GNOME people put together.
Erm, sort of. The KDE environment uses a different set of libraries (like DLLs in Windows) to that of Gnome. So long as you have all the required library files, you can run any program from any environment. If the KDE menu is slightly different to the Gnome menu, then you'll find an entry for it, and vice versa. Mandrake have thought about this and have come up with a system to better keep all the programs in the same place regardless of which GUI you're using.

SawFish might not have been designed to be run on its own, but it does run damn well on its own! Blackbox or Fluxbox is probably a good idea to start with, though. A naked SawFish is not the nicest of things, you need to know how to tame it! And now I'm crossing my metaphores! The easiest way, I would say, to have SawFish run all on its own is to have a file in your home directory called .xinitrc and have the line exec startsawfish in there. If you search the forums for xinitrc, then you should get a much better understanding of how and why this file is used. I have my computer set up to boot to a text login, and you have to type startx to get it into the GUI, and this file is important when you do that.

As for the Aliens theme, it should already have been installed on your machine. If not, check the install CDs, it should be there... it's fairly common.
 
Old 10-18-2002, 12:20 PM   #7
digantk
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thymox

SawFish might not have been designed to be run on its own, but it does run damn well on its own! Blackbox or Fluxbox is probably a good idea to start with, though. A naked SawFish is not the nicest of things, you need to know how to tame it! And now I'm crossing my metaphores! The easiest way, I would say, to have SawFish run all on its own is to have a file in your home directory called .xinitrc and have the line exec startsawfish in there. If you search the forums for xinitrc, then you should get a much better understanding of how and why this file is used. I have my computer set up to boot to a text login, and you have to type startx to get it into the GUI, and this file is important when you do that.
So I guess I first need to research Windows Managers and see which is the best one. I want one that is powerful, customizable, and flexible. I don't need all the office products like fancy word processors and all that. I need something that I can streamline to my tastes.

And I want to be able to make it look really cool with some awesome themes.
 
Old 10-18-2002, 12:33 PM   #8
Thymox
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The fancy word processors are seperate programs. If you do a google.com/linux search for window managers, or go to sourceforge and search for windowmanagers, you should get quite an exhaustive list.
 
Old 10-18-2002, 01:43 PM   #9
digantk
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thymox
The fancy word processors are seperate programs. If you do a google.com/linux search for window managers, or go to sourceforge and search for windowmanagers, you should get quite an exhaustive list.
And your personal favorite is Sawfish, right? Any particular reason(s)?
 
Old 10-18-2002, 06:27 PM   #10
Thymox
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Yep. Even things like Blackbox and Fluxbox, which are supposed to be minimalist, have that annoying bar at the bottom (I believe you can get rid of it, but I couldn't be bothered to find out how since SF didn't have one, I stuck with it). I like having a completely blank slate with which to work. Plus the fact that you can have each window with a different 'theme' or 'decoration'. I can have BrushedMetal2 for some windows and Alien for others, if I so wish. It's just so bare... the only things on the screen are exactly what you want to be there.
 
  


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